I cannot stress enough: It’s crucial for women to be active in managing their finances. I believe that all women, regardless of occupation, income levels, lifestyle, life stages should learn to empower themselves financially.
Anna Vanessa Haotanto
The founder and CEO of financial, investments and career platform for women, The New Savvy, is also COO of ABZD Capital, MD and Chief Marketing Officer of Gourmet Food Holdings, and President of the Singapore Management University Women Alumni
You are actively involved in women-focused initiatives and projects such as your platform, The New Savvy. How did female empowerment, particularly financial literacy, become of importance to you?
I was driven by two experiences when I started The New Savvy. Firstly, I’ve always been fascinated by the intricacies behind the working of money. Due to my family’s financial situation, I realised that I had to start taking responsibility for my family and myself and this sparked my interest in the world of wealth-building.
The next experience was when I got involved with volunteer work back in junior college. I noticed how many women were stuck in unhappy situations or marriages simply because they were unemployed or lacked earning capabilities. That motivated me to always protect myself financially and to prevent myself from being in similar situations.
It was then that I understood the power of education and how women can benefit from it if they were only given a chance — especially in underdeveloped countries. With all these in mind, I studied Finance in university, started investing at 21-years-old, and founded The New Savvy to empower women through financial education.
In addition to The New Savvy, you are also involved in a handful of projects and business ventures including Gourmet Food Holdings. What’s your schedule like and how has Clé de Peau Beauté’s The Serum been working for you so far?
There’s never a dull day, especially with business meetings, discussions and social events lined up in my schedule. But as someone in her late 30s, I experience a tired and haggard complexion even more so now than ever. So when I purchase my skincare, I look for products that focus on skin regeneration and health.
Clé de Peau Beauté’s The Serum delivers that effectively. The formula absorbs beautifully into the skin and instantly refreshes my tired complexion. Due to frequent lack of sleep, my skin tends to be dry, and the product keeps my skin well hydrated. Aside from the immediate radiance, I also enjoy its luxurious scent.
Clé de Peau Beauté is continuing its collaboration with UNICEF, and is working to make STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education more accessible to young girls. Why is it important for more women to enter STEM fields?
From a finance perspective, more women in STEM will not only promote gender equality, but also help to boost workforce earnings. According to research, increasing the number of women in STEM can equate to an additional $12 trillion in the global GMP by the year 2025.
What you’ve achieved for yourself and how you’ve helped opened doors for other women is commendable. What is your end goal?
I simply want women to go out there and equip themselves with skills and knowledge to protect themselves, especially financially. Women have made incredible gains in the workforce over the last 20 years, our presence has nearly doubled and our median earnings has increased over 60 percent. Despite working, earning and saving more, women are still not investing and managing their money well. It would seem that they leave it to their spouses to manage the money. But what happens in the event of death, divorce or disability?
Any words of affirmation to share with our readers?
A quote from Audre Lorde: “I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self-indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.”
It’s important for the younger generation, especially for girls, to know that learning is important and that it is okay to pick up whatever skill set you want, whether it’s in science, technology, engineering or mathematics.
As founder and CEO of career platform Half The Sky Asia, she helps women enhance their careers at companies committed to creating diverse and inclusive workplaces
You founded Half The Sky Asia to level the playing field for women in the workforce. What spurred you to take this upon yourself?
I’ve been in the recruitment industry for close to 15 years and I’ve noticed that men don’t face as many employment-related challenges as women do, no matter in which country. As someone who is constantly stuck in between the candidates and employers, I felt helpless as I didn’t even know where to begin bridging the gap between the two.
Over the years, my frustrations built up and eventually I realised that it wasn’t enough to just voice out these opinions. I had to take action if I wanted to improve the situation. So I decided to take the plunge and play the role of a connector for these very talented female professionals by linking them to equal opportunity companies and employers. It is important that these companies provide initiatives and policies that are transparent to empower and enable these women to succeed in the work place. And now Half The Sky Asia has been running smoothly since 2019… and counting.
Your schedule must be full of networking events and business meetings. What’s a typical day like for you?
I start my day from the evening before by looking through my calendar so I know what to expect. It’s important that I visualise how these events are going to be like and what kind of energy I’d like to project to the people I will be speaking to. Once I’m up, I begin my day with a workout, catching up with the news and then a daily team meeting. And then it’s usually followed by a full day of meetings with clients and partners before I unwind in the evening.
Have you been able to add in a beauty routine to this busy schedule?
I actually keep my beauty routine very short and simple. Because I have dry skin, I wash my face minimally, only doing so on mornings where I exercise. This helps to get rid of all the sweat and oils. I recently introduced Clé de Peau Beauté The Serum to my routine, using it immediately after cleansing. The product has done wonders to my skin, as I’ve never seen it this radiant and healthy in a long time.
Clé de Peau Beauté, together with UNICEF, is helping make STEM education accessible to young girls. As a woman whose job entails supporting other women, what are your thoughts on this?
One thing that I’ve observed is that women face a lot of challenges with their confidence. Oftentimes, they don’t feel qualified to be in certain industries because they were underexposed to it or weren’t given the opportunity to explore it.
I use tech as an example, and I always tell them this: If you’re a woman using a smart phone, you’re technically considered a “woman in tech”. It’s not that daunting. So if you can navigate through these modern tools and technologies, you can do anything you want to. Never let the idea of it being “male dominant” daunt you.
So when I heard about Clé de Peau Beauté’s partnership with UNICEF, I got excited. These two powerhouses are creating an opportunity for young girls by promoting a growth mindset and modernising these “traditional” perspectives.
I hope that women can be seen as an untapped potential. By ensuring employment opportunities for women, including board roles, the potential for us to grow is tremendous.
Pek Lay Peng
The founder of SocietyA, a fashion retailer focusing exclusively on Asian designers, is also CEO of the Shingda Group, and Vice Chairperson of LadiesFirst, a non-profit made up of female professionals committed to creating positive social impact
You have been involved with numerous female-driven advocacy work, including projects such as the PA-ITE-LadiesFirst Mentorship Programme. What is your end goal with projects that empower women?
I hope that women can be seen as an untapped potential. By ensuring employment opportunities for women, including board roles, the potential for us to grow is tremendous. It’s not just about taking on the roles and positions typically held by men, but also about creating new roles with a feminine DNA. I hope that this course of action can be followed through the generations to come, and I hope that more and more women can become role models for one another.
What is an average day like for a power woman like yourself?
I now embrace working from home for days with virtual meetings. Whether it is work, grass root and community initiatives, or family, I’ve built a good ecosystem for myself, so I can thrive and am able to do what I do and more. I’ll continue to build on this trust and openness for my next decade of growth.
Do you have a beauty regime and would you consider it time well-spent?
Mornings and nights are non-negotiable for skincare. I both detox and nourish my skin on weekends to prep it for the week ahead. Having to meet people all the time, it is important to look presentable, so beauty routines are a daily investment for me.
I’ve been using Clé de Peau Beauté’s The Serum as the first step in skincare after cleansing and toning. I use it under the eyes to erase fine lines, and I really like its texture and light scent. Additionally, makeup goes on really well after that and gives a youthful look. To me, it is truly a miracle in a bottle.
What ripple effects do you hope to witness from Clé de Peau Beauté’s collaboration with UNICEF to make STEM education more accessible to young girls ?
I strongly believe that if we want to change the world, education is the key. The other would be access to employment or entrepreneurial opportunities.
I’m very happy to learn that Clé de Peau Beauté is working with UNICEF to provide these opportunities to young girls who can now pursue their dreams in the STEM fields. In the long term, after they graduate, hopefully they go on to create other support networks and ecosystems to help successive generations.
Clé de Peau Beauté kicks off its second annual initiative in support of UNICEF to improve access to STEM education for girls
Clé de Peau Beauté’s The Serum has reached iconic status thanks to its ability to awaken Skin Intelligence — the skin’s ability to absorb beneficial nutrients and filter out environmental aggressors by relying on ingredients such as theanine and extracts of platinum golden silk and Japanese pearl shell. The updated formula contains red perilla and angelica acutiloba extracts — to support and enhance the efficacy of other ingredients— as well as Kelplex, a three-algae complex that promotes radiance and good health. Over time, skin is left with a coveted lit-from-within glow.
As part of a collaboration with UNICEF, part of the sales proceeds for The Serum will go towards funding the #KeyToABetterWorld initiative. The project works to enable easier access to education — particularly in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) — for young girls around the world, including in Bangladesh, Kyrgyzstan and Niger. Through mentor-ships from experts, not only will this initiative equip a new generation of women with knowledge and skills to maneuver within these professional fields, it also hopes to instill confidence and encourage team work.
The Serum is priced at $270 for 30ml, and $380 for 50ml. For more information on the product and the initiative, visit cledepeau-beaute.com/int/cpb-for-unicef. Get connected with Cle de Peau Beaute’s Whatsapp Concierge service here to support the cause.
Art Direction: Catherine Wong
Assisted by: Samsidi Baderi
Makeup: Terence Ng (Senior Makeup Artist at Clé de Peau Beauté) using Clé de Peau Beauté
Hair: Angel Gwee using Davines